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23 March 2020 | 8 min read

6 Simple Recipes That You Can Make At Home While Social Distancing

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The coronavirus pandemic has almost the entire world on lockdown, and this is the perfect time to try new recipes at home. While this lockdown means less time spent with friends outdoors, it could also be a blessing in disguise for anyone who has been wishing for a few weeks at home.

The free time, while boring at first, could be used for anything — from cleaning your house to learning an instrument. It could also be used to learn how to prepare these simple meals from the comfort of your home. Try one every day of the week, and you’ll never have to order out again, even once the curfew is lifted.

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1. World’s Best Cheese Sandwich

Sure, you can make a cheese sandwich, but can you make the world’s most fabulous cheese sandwich? Creating variations of this classic snack has become a trend on the internet, with everyone claiming to have the best recipe. Try out a couple of recipes, with variations of your own, and prepare to become a master of this classic snack. Here’s a full recipe.

Ingredients 

  • Bread
  • Cheese
  • Butter

Method 

  • Use good quality bread. Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t use any bread that you have in your pantry already. If you have the option, however, I suggest buying some crusty whole grain or regular sourdough for maximally excellent flavor.
  • Sharp cheddar has a lot of flavor, and that’s what we’re going for. When it comes to grilled cheese, you really can’t go light on the cheese, or you’re going to be disappointed.
  • You need enough butter to achieve the crackly-crisp, buttery, golden exterior that we all crave. Make sure you spread the softened butter generously over the outside pieces of bread.
  • Pre-shredded cheeses are lightly coated in starch, so they don’t stick together, but the starch prevents your cheese from melting into gooey oblivion.
  • Cover your grilled cheese while it cooks.

2. Samosas

Of course, just a couple of days home, and you’re bound to be missing every Indian’s favourite snack — the samosa. Luckily, it also happens to be a snack that’s both easier and healthier to make in the comfort of your home. Check out the entire recipe below, and once the lockdown is lifted, dazzle your friends with this new skill.

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or organic maida (250 grams)
  • ¼ cup of oil or melted ghee (60ml)
  • ¼ cup of water 
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon ajwain or carom seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 4 potatoes (500 grams)
  • ½ cup of green peas (boiled or frozen)
  • 8 chopped cashews
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced or paste
  • 1-2 green chilies (optional
  • 1 pinch hing or asafetida (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (or ½ amchur or chaat masala)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin or jeera
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ¾ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder 

Method 

  • Boil potatoes just until they are done without it being mushy. You can either boil them in a steamer, pot or cooker.
  • Crumble them, do not mash them. Set aside.
  • Mix together ajwain, salt, flour and ghee in a mixing bowl.
  • Rub the flour well for 2-3 mins in between the palms to incorporate the oil or ghee well.
  • Take a handful of flour and press down with your fingers. It must hold shape and not crumble.
  • Add water little by little and mix the flour to the dough.
  • It has to be stiff and hard. Do not make a soft dough.
  • Cover and set aside for 25-30 minutes.
  • Next heat oil in a pan and adds cumin. When it begins to sizzle, add ginger and fry – add cashews if you want and fry. Add green peas and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Next add red chilli powder, garam masala, cumin powder, and chaat masala. Sauté for 30 seconds, post which you add the potato and sprinkle salt.
  • Mix and saute for 2-3 minutes, mix in coriander leaves and set aside to cool.
  • Taste and more salt if needed. If you want to add lemon juice, do it now.
  • Now, knead the dough to smoothen a bit.
  • Make 5 portions and roll to balls. Cover the dough.
  • Grease the rolling area and then flatten a ball. Drizzle some oil.
  • Begin to roll to an oval shape, which is neither too thin nor thick.
  • Cut into two – if edges are too thick, gently roll it to thin down.
  • Smear water over the straight edge. Join the edges to make a cone – press gently to seal the cone from inside as well.
  • Fill the cone with potato masala and press down. Smear water on edges.
  • Bring the edges together and make a pleat on one side. Bring back the pleat and seal it.
  • Make 5 samosas and begin to heat oil until medium-hot.
  • Once the oil is medium hot, gently add as many samosas as you can to the oil and fry on low flame for some time.
  • When the crust turn firm, flip them and fry on medium flame till they are golden and crunchy.
  • Remove once fried and then cook the rest.
  • Serve samosa with mint chutney or tomato sauce.

3. Momos

If you’re missing the local samosa-wala, chances are you’ve also spared a thought for the local momo-wala. Much like samosas, though, momos are simple to make at home and can be a delightful evening snack when you’re stuck indoors. Check out the recipe below, and we’re sure you’ll soon be steaming up delicious dumplings.

Ingredients 

  • 1½ cup maida / plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • water for kneading
  • oil for greasing
  • 3 tsp oil
  • 3 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp spring onion
  • 1 cup carrot, grated
  • 2 cup cabbage, shredded
  • ½ tsp pepper, crushed
  • ½ tsp salt

Method 

  • Prepare stuffing by heating 3 tsp oil and saute three clove garlic, 1-inch ginger, and two chillies.
  • Now add 2 tbsp spring onion and saute on high flame.
  • Add 1 cup carrot and 2 cup cabbage. Stir fry on high flame.
  • Next, add ½ tsp pepper and ½ tsp salt.
  • Now add 2 tbsp spring onion and stuffing mixture is ready.
  • Pinch a small ball sized momos dough and flatten. Now dust with some maida and start to roll using a rolling pin.
  • Roll to an almost medium thin circle. Around 4 – 5 inches in diameter. Make sure you roll from sides and keep the centre slightly thick.
  • Place a heaped tbsp of prepared stuffing in the centre.
  • Start pleating the edges slowly and gather everything.
  • Press in the middle and seal the momos forming a bundle.
  • Heat a steamer and arrange the momos in the tray without touching each other.
  • Next, steam momos for 10-12 minutes or till shiny sheen appears over it.
  • Serve with chutney.

4. Pakoras

Another staple Indian snack, pakoras go well in about any weather and are an absolute must with a cup of steaming chai. They’re also so popular because of how easy they are to prepare, and how they use ingredients every Indian house will no doubt have lying around. Check out the recipe below, and you’ll be making the perfect batch of pakoras in no time.

Ingredients 

  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 -5 tablespoons chickpea flour/Besan
  • 1 teaspoon red chile powder, optional
  • Pinch of salt
  • Oil to deep fry (a couple of inches to cover the bottom of the pan)

Method 

  • Cut the onions thinly into half-moons. The slices should not be more than 1/8th of an inch. Place them in a bowl.
  • Stir the flour, chile powder, and salt together in a separate bowl, and then sprinkle it on the sliced onions. Add it just to coat — if 4 tbsps seems sufficient, you can stop there.
  • Combine well by giving a gentle squeeze to the onions. If needed, wet your palm with water and mix the onion mixture with your wet palm, but do not add additional water. The dough should come together as lumpy, but it shouldn’t be runny.
  • Heat the oil to about 350 in a wok. Drop a small piece of batter into the oil to test; if it browns and floats, the oil is ready.
  • Eyeball heaping tablespoons of the mixture add small mounds of it to your hot oil and fry till golden brown.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove them carefully and place them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil. Serve immediately, and with chutney or ketchup.

5. Paneer/Chicken Tikka

A staple at every Indian restaurant, chicken/paneer tikka is one of the easiest things you can prepare at home. All you need is the right marinade and a working gas connection, and you’re good to go. When made right, by the recipe below, for instance, it is the perfect protein-filled lunch, dinner, or evening snack.

Ingredients 

  • 300g of paneer
  • 200g of yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp of ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp amchur powder
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp ajwain seeds
  • 1 tbsp of oil
  • salt
  • 1/2 tbsp of ghee, or butter
  • 1/2 lime

Method 

  • To begin the dish, line a wire strainer with a muslin cloth and pour in the yoghurt. Tie the ends of the muslin together and hang over a bowl for 30 minutes.
  • Dice the paneer into 2cm chunks, sprinkle with salt and chilli powder and set aside. Soak the bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes.
  • Add the hung curd to a large bowl and mix until smooth. Add all of the spices, the ginger-garlic paste and oil to the bowl and whisk thoroughly to incorporate all of the ingredients. Include ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, garam masala, amchur powder, chaat masala and ajwain seeds along with a tablespoon of oil.
  • Add the paneer to the marinade, mix gently to coat and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the grill to the highest possible temperature or use a tandoor if you have one.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spray or brush with melted ghee or butter. Thread the paneer onto skewers and place them on the baking tray. Grill for 2 minutes, then carefully turn the skewers and grill for a further 2 minutes, until lightly browned along the edges.
  • Transfer the skewers to a serving plate, drizzle with the lime juice and serve immediately.

6. Spaghetti Carbonara

If you’re feeling a little experimental but still don’t want to waste too many hours cooking spaghetti carbonara is one of the easiest things to prepare, as well as a fitting tribute to the Italians. All you need is a few ingredients from the store, and with the recipe below and two hours later you’ll have a delicious meal in front of you.

Ingredients 

  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Method 

  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; reserve 1/2 cup water and drain well.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and Parmesan; set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes, reserve excess fat.
  • Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low.
  • Working quickly, stir in pasta and egg mixture, and gently toss to combine, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add reserved pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
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